Stevie Wonder 032

stevie wonder rgb adj-thumb

Stevie Wonder 032

Look closer for three song lyrics and five song titles: “To find a job is like a haystack needle” (Living for the City); “candy hearts to give away”(I Just Called to Say I Love You); “You can feel it all over”(Sir Duke); You Are the Sunshine of My Life; Superstition; Uptight; My Cherie Amour; For Once in My Life

Stevie Wonder

Stevland Hardaway Morris was born May 13, 1950 and is better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder. An American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer, Wonder is a prominent figure in popular music, and one of the most successful songwriters and musicians in the history of music. With heavy use of electronic instruments and innovative sounds, Wonder became a pioneer and influenced musicians of various genres including pop, rhythm and blues, soul, funk and rock.

Blind since shortly after his birth, Wonder was a child prodigy known as Little Stevie Wonder leading him to sign with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11. In 1963, the single “Fingertips” was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when Wonder was aged 13, making him the youngest artist ever to top the chart. Fingertips was also the first live recording to reach number-one. Originally a jazz instrumental recorded for Wonder’s first studio album, the live version was recorded during a Motortown Revue performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois.

Containing only a few stanzas of improvised lyrics, “Fingertips” is essentially an instrumental piece, meant to showcase Wonder’s talents on the bongos and the harmonica. Wonder shouts “Everybody say ‘yeah!'”, initiating a call and response exchange with the audience. After a couple verses, each followed by harmonica playing, accompanied only by audience rhythmic clapping, Wonder concludes. On the night of the recording, as usual he started to leave the stage however, Stevie changes his mind, returning to sing the “goodbye” encore. The other musicians were caught out, and the bass players had changed over to prepare for the next act. As Wonder moves into his impromptu encore, the new bass player, Joe Swift, having replaced Larry Moses, can be heard on the recording, yelling out: “What key? What key?”

Wonder’s critical success was at its peak in the 1970s when he started his “classic period” in 1972 with the releases of Music of My Mind and Talking Book, with the latter featuring the number-one hit “Superstition”. “Superstition” is one of the most distinctive and famous examples of the sound of the Hohner Clavinet keyboard. With Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974) and Songs in the Key of Life (1976) all winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, Wonder became the tied record holder, with Frank Sinatra, for the most Album of the Year wins with three. Wonder is also the only artist to have won the award with three consecutive album releases.

Wonder’s “classic period” is widely considered to have ended in 1977. Noted for his funky keyboard style, personal control of production with series of songs integrated to make concept albums. In 1979, Wonder made use of the early music sampler Computer Music Melodian through his composition of the soundtrack album Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants”. It was his first digital recording, one of the earliest popular digital albums. Wonder’s 1970s albums were very influential; they “pioneered stylistic approaches that helped to determine the shape of pop music for the next decade”. –Rolling Stone Record Guide (1983)

Selling over 100 million records worldwide, Wonder is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. 25 Grammy Awards makes him one of the most awarded artists. He’s the first Motown artist and second African-American musician to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song (1984 film The Woman in Red). He’s in the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Rock Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan, on May 13, 1950, the third of six children born to Calvin Judkins and songwriter Lula Mae Hardaway. He was born six weeks premature which, along with the oxygen-rich atmosphere in the hospital incubator, resulted in retinopathy of prematurity, a condition in which the growth of the eyes is aborted and causes the retinas to detach, so he became blind.

Wonder sang as a child in a choir at the Whitestone Baptist Church. His mother, having divorced his father changed her name back to Lula Hardaway and later changed her son’s surname to Morris, partly because of relatives. Wonder has retained Morris as his legal surname.

Wonder attended Fitzgerald Elementary School, but after his first album release, enrolled in Michigan School for the Blind.


The artwork:

The first print of this illustration was donated to silent auction for Women in War, a support network for veterans in Bastrop, Texas

Digital Print on Archival Matte – Original illustration done in graphite and prisma colors: Sunburst Yellow for You are the Sunshine of My Life; Golden Rod for Golden Ladyfrom the album Innervisions; Black Cherry for My Cherie Amour; Parma Violet for “candy hearts to give away” in I Just Called to Say I Love You

Artist: Tobin Bortner of Bastrop, Texas – drawing done in March of 2020 – ©Tobin Signs/Look Closer Illustrations

DERIVATIVE Work photo credits: Little Stevie and mic from Smoot Radio-stevie-wonder-9-1273508617-view-1; Face from Stephanie McKay-stevie-wonder-united-nations-02; Suit Jacket is Associated Press-800; hands on keyboards from Hotter Than July BBC-76ed7a5952120d9331732dd06eae35d0

What you get:
$40 (36.95 + 3.05 tax)
11 x 14 Print Package with Authenticity Sheet
signed and numbered (run of 30)
Domestic Priority Mail $8
(Free shipping)

Stevie Wonder 032

Little Stevie Wonder signed for recording at age 11.


Trouble ordering?
Venmo: tobincbort
or email
%d bloggers like this: